TEATIME TATTLER: Your Grace, London is humming with the news of your most recent sermon. You spoke with some concern about a magic ring that purportedly brings lovers together.
THE BISHOP OF HESKINGTON: The Devil’s work, sir. I do not scruple to say a pernicious evil that tempts foolish people onto the path to Hell.
TEATIME TATTLER: But Your Grace, in the stories I’ve heard, the ring brings true lovers together in the bonds of Holy Matrimony. Is this not a good thing?
HESKINGTON: (Snorting with disdain) Carnal love, sir. Carnal love. Hardly a suitable frame of mind in which to approach that most holy of institutions with reverence. Marriage is not about carnal love, except that those who are susceptible to its curse might, from time to time, in darkness and with due dispatch, find release from their sinful urges. This ring is from the Devil, I tell you.
TEATIME TATTLER: May I tell your readers that you believe in its power, then, Your Grace?
HESKINGTON: I believe in the power of the Lord to overcome even this devil-ring, and to guide the poor souls who have given themselves over to its evil into a state of rational grace. I pray that they will be delivered from their subjection, though I fear that the ring continues to exercise its malign effects long after it passes from their hands.
TEATIME TATTLER: Ah yes. Because the ring, its job done, goes to work its magic on others. But of whom we know seem to stay in love, do they not?
HESKINGTON: (Shakes head sadly) Indeed. Indeed, they do. I have heard terrible tales of people brought together even through time; of married couples settled in a relationship of benign neglect acting like giddy children; of brave soldiers wanting the courage to turn away an unsuitable match. It breaks my heart, sir. Who knows where it shall end? I can speak of it no more.
TEATIME TATTLER: So, gentle reader, which view is correct? Is the ring indeed a tool of the devil? Its magic beneficial, smoothing the way of true love? Or is the presence of the ring merely a coincidence in a love story that would have happened without it?
Decide for yourself as the Bluestocking Belles tell some of the stories of the ring. You’ll find short scenes in the week of December, on this page, on the individual blogs of the Belles, and on a special section of this website. See also the novellas in Follow Your Star Home, where eight pairs of lovers feel the power of the ring. Or do they?